This was conveyed recently at one of the Monday meetings attended by NITI Vice Chairman Suman Bery, CEO Parameswaran Iyer and other members and officials, sources said. (File)

NITI Aayog has asked its officers to get “all op-eds/articles” cleared by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in case of senior officers and “Concerned Advisors” in case of junior officers before sending them. them to “external publication” to any media outlet.

The government’s top think tank said in a letter to its officials on 12 May:
“The undersigned is directed to state for strict compliance that all op-eds/articles written by officers/officials of NITI Aayog in which they identify themselves as an officer/officer/employee of NITI Aayog, which are sent for external publication in newspapers/magazines/news sites etc. should be duly approved by the concerned consultant. The articles of the Senior Consultants/Consultants/Heads of Vertical Heads should be approved by the CEO.

“All op-eds/articles are to be sent for publication through the Communications vertical only… The communications vertical shall make the final decision on whether the op-ed/article meets the minimum acceptable quality standards for external publication,” said.

Sources said that apart from written communication, the officials of NITI Aayog have also been asked to follow the order orally. Sources said that a meeting held recently on Monday was attended by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Suman Berry, CEO Parameswaran Iyer and other members and officials.

Berry took over as the Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog with effect from May 1, 2022, while Iyer assumed office on July 11.

When contacted, the official spokesperson of NITI Aayog said: “NITI Aayog, a government think tank, has issued general advisories from time to time, encouraging due diligence while publishing articles. Unfortunately, The Indian Express is misinterpreting the routine advisory. NITI Aayog encourages its employees to constantly think and express themselves constructively, keeping in mind the Government Conduct Rules.

The spokesperson, however, did not specify the dates on which such advisory was issued. According to sources, no such letter was issued in the recent past.

The decision is significant considering the role of NITI Aayog as a think tank. There are about a dozen advisors in NITI Aayog, who head various divisions and verticals. The Advisor and Senior Advisor are in the rank of Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary. In addition, there are several vertical heads.

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